Edge of glory or hanging on by my fingernails?

Posted: August 28, 2012 in agility foundations, running contacts
Tags: ,

Most recently, I have been working on adding a bit of height to the dogwalk. It is now at 36-inches, where it will stay for a while as we work through some things. I am pleased that Jagger hasn’t fallen off the thing lately. This is encouraging.

What is a bit discouraging, though not unexpected for a 10-month old dog, is that sometimes I swear when I teach Jagger something new, some behavior I’d previously taught him falls right out the other ear. I imagine our conversations going something like this during training:

Me: Ok, I want you to run through the right end of that tunnel, come out the left end, get on the dogwalk, run across it in four strides or maybe three or five if you think that will work better while touching the yellow zones on each end, then take that jump at the far end. Then I’ll throw you the ball!

Jag: OK!!!!!

*Jagger runs through the tunnel at 100 miles an hour, then shows up at my feet*

Me: Hey Jag, you were supposed to get on the dogwalk.

Jag: I FORGOT.

Me: No biggie, we’ll try it again. I know it’s complicated.

Jag: OK!!!!

*same scenario repeats itself several more times*

Me: Dude.

Jag: THROW BALL NOW?

Anyway, here’s what it looks like when things are going well:

In the above video, I am gradually moving the jump standards that you have seen at the base of the down ramp in previous videos farther away from the dogwalk. Eventually, I will get them far enough away so that I can put a low jump bar up. The goal is to encourage Jagger to drive toward the jump of his own volition, independent of my motion or throwing the ball. I make small changes (but didn’t tape all sessions) to gradually progress.

And when it’s going REALLY well:

These two efforts happened earlier tonight after a couple of days of very challenging training sessions where Jagger has obviously been working hard to put all his dogwalk skills together. The fact that he’s getting on the up ramp while I am moving (albeit at just walk right now) is a pretty major achievement. He’s not leaping off the down ramp even though I start jogging. I am also quite happy with how he’s driving toward the jump on his own.

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